Explicit sex scenes in mainstream movies.

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"Hey Look it's Masterman"
Damn I've got movies in my collection that I bought just for the sex scenes, am I wrong.

Basic instinct
Showgirls
Wild things



^ Those are PG rated compared to something like 9 Songs from the director Michael Winterbottom. Absolutely rubbish film where all the sex is real between the two leads.


__________________
~ The fact that you possess a sense of morality, and we do not, gives us an evolutionary advantage. And if history has proven anything... It is that evolution always wins. ~



I've never understood the argument that showing a sex act is a distasteful cheap thrill, while showing a horrific act of violence is good cinema. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Shortbus has been mentioned here, and I find that to be a terrific example of showing sexual acts as a necessity to plot in a positive manner. The main objective of the main character is to achieve a perfect orgasm. How else would one show this journey without the act of sex? It was a surprisingly sweet film that had wonderful character development along with (and during) the sex. I was happy to see a film that celebrated a natural act that most of the human population will engage in.

Shortbus is the rare exception with sex, unfortunately. Generally, the use of graphic sex is shown as shattering to the characters. Antichrist is a perfect example. Again, the film is about sex: loneliness during sex, sexual power struggles, selfishness of sex, etc. Though I didn't care for the film much, it's hard to argue that the movie would make just as much sense without the sex. It wouldn't. The sex was a necessary part of the story and themes. Lust Caution and Blue Valentine are similar recent examples of this sort of depiction.

It's a shame that there's a thread where people have to really think hard to find movies with sex, but I can go to the multiplex and see Evil Dead, The Purge, and Hangover III, all of which have pretty gruesome depictions of violence.

So why can't sex be artistic? Why does it have to be considered low brow if it's used in service to the plot? And even if it's not, what's the problem? So much of what Hollywood puts out these days in terms of violence is gratuitous. Did Kill Bill really need to show as much decapitation as it did? No, but it was considered art. I just don't understand the no sex stance, beyond the "sex is icky" argument. If that's your only argument, than I would consider you to be juvenile.

Last edited by Godot18; 06-09-13 at 09:23 PM. Reason: clarification



I like subtle direction that implies an action has occured instead of needing to show it explicitly. For example, Sam Mendes in Road To Perdition and American Beauty would show guns pointed to the head, then move the camera away and we would only see blood splattering. We are left to assume and imagine what has happened. For sex, I think it's sufficient to imply the action; for instance, show a couple getting into bed and beginning to kiss then fade to the next scene. Why do we need to see the sex taking place? Unless the movie is about sex or trying to make a related statement, I really don't need to be watching porn in the middle of a film.



Originally Posted by Dtwizzy2k8 View Post
I like subtle direction that implies an action has occured instead of needing to show it explicitly. For example, Sam Mendes in Road To Perdition and American Beauty would show guns pointed to the head, then move the camera away and we would only see blood splattering. We are left to assume and imagine what has happened. For sex, I think it's sufficient to imply the action; for instance, show a couple getting into bed and beginning to kiss then fade to the next scene. Why do we need to see the sex taking place? Unless the movie is about sex or trying to make a related statement, I really don't need to be watching porn in the middle of a film.
I can certainly appreciate the aesthetic of subtly; the Reservoir Dogs ear cutting scene for example. And I do believe that much of this depends on personal taste. But I have a problem with the labeling of showing beyond anything kissing as "porn".

I fully accept the label of "torture porn" given to films like Saw and The Hills have Eyes. These films exist only to create fear in the audience and to show a gross death. I'm not knocking those who like these films, but they're going in with a certain expectation and nothing more. Same as sexual porn. They are trying to arouse the audience by showing sex.

So violent porn = fear/gruesome deaths. Sexual porn = sexual arousal/graphic sex.

But what about a film like Fargo which includes graphic sex and violence. Considered as by most to be one of the greatest movies of all time, you would be hard pressed to state the sole purpose of the film is the create fear and sexual arousal. The sex and violence is used more as a tool to present realism. Fargo starts of stating "this is a true story". To bolster this lie, they shoot the film in a very still, almost documentary style. Nothing is really glorified, it's just there. The foot in the wood chipper, the cheek being blown off. And the sex with the escort. Just plain, un-arousing, sex.

Would you consider the sex scene in Fargo to be sexual porn? Or the violence to be torture porn?

Last edited by Godot18; 06-10-13 at 04:19 PM.



I havent seen a movie with explicit sex yet thats been worth a damn. All of these movies just plain suck. Caligula bout ruined Malcolm McDowells career even. Chloe Sevigny hurt her career with that Brown Bunny drivel.

So you ask why cant there be a great movie with explicit sex? Ill answer that with a question. When is it necessary to have explicit sex in movies? Ive seen plenty of simulated sex in film that aroused me way more than any porno. Why have explicit sex in movies?

Last edited by TONGO; 06-10-13 at 12:35 PM.



Originally Posted by TONGO View Post
I havent seen a movie with explicit sex yet thats been worth a damn. All of these movies just plain suck. Caligula bout ruined Malcolm McDowells career even. Chloe Sevigny hurt her career with that Brown Bunny drivel.

So you ask why cant there be a great movie with explicit sex? Ill answer that with a question. When is it necessary to have explicit sex in movies? Ive seen plenty of simulated sex in film that aroused me way more than any porno. Why have explicit sex in movies?
In response to Tongo's "So you ask why cant there be a great movie with explicit sex..."

Well, you really didn't answer the question of whether or not a great film can have sex. You just kind of punted it. But I'll play along. It clearly seems that you have a problem with sex in films, and coming from a conservative upbringing I find that completely understandable. Whether it's a religious philosophy or a general discomfort regarding sex, everyone has a right to be turned off by sexually explicit material in a film. And you can choose to not watch it.

There are many critics who believe there is nothing wrong with arousal in films. Roger Ebert wrote a positive review for the Angelina Jolie movie Original Sin, stating sometimes it's nice to see good looking people having sex. And that healthy, loving sex is vilified in the media so much that the vilification seeps into our own lives. Now, I'm guessing you're going to call that view ludicrous, so I'm not going to defend it (though I agree with it).

I will take issue with your assertion that sex must equal arousal, and therefor must be pornography. It's my opinion that sex in films are not always used for arousal, and sometimes the visual depiction of sex is the most direct way of communicating an idea to an audience.

I've already given examples of films that depict sexual acts in a brutal, no arousing way. Antichrist, Blue Valentine, and Lust Caution. I've stated that Fargo was certainly not arousing. But you may not consider these "great movies", or haven't even seen them (I hated Antrichrist and Lust Caution myself).

So I looked at AFI's 100 best films and took out two examples where sex and nudity are used in non-arousal situations. There are more examples on this list, but I'll just stick with two.

#8 on the list is Schindler's List. During one scene, the Nazi's take off the clothing of their Jewish prisoners to evaluate their physical fitness. There are graphic depictions of nudity of both male and female genitalia. Visually, this brings home the idea that the Jewish people were treated like cattle. I don't think anyone could say they were aroused by this scene. Film is a visual medium and one of the first rules of screenwriting is to show, not tell. Too much dialogue or explaining can take away the impact of the visual nature of a film. So, in this scene, would it had been more effective if we were just told that they were naked?

Schindler's List also has a depiction of a sex act between Ammon Goette and a young woman. This scene is immediately followed by random killings of the Jewish workers (Ammon shooting them from his balcony). In this scene, the opulence and debauchery of Goette his heightened because he has rather meaningless sex directly before shooting a number of prisoners. In this scene, sex, murder, they're all the same to the man. And he appears to take no pleasure in both. He is a psychopath. The scene is portrayed without any dialogue. Again, it's certainly not arousing. I personally do not believe that this scene would have as much impact if it were just talked about.

#70 on the list is A Clockwork Orange. Now, many people thought the film was pornographic when it was first released and it was slapped with an X rating. That has been lowered to an R since then, but I understand the viewpoint. But again, I'm going off your assumption that nudity and sex is only used for arousal.

The film is about images. Kubrick was a visual director who used little to no dialogue in his films (like 2001). For us to believe the story of a young man who has to be cured of his evils, we have to first believe that what he does is evil. And this is shown by two somewhat graphic rapes at the beginning of the film. When I first saw the film, I threw up. The depictions are so cold and isolated that one really gets the feeling of the horror and randomness of these situations. Again, Kubrick deals with images, and to simply say "Alex raped a few people" would not have the visceral and emotional impact that the images provide. These scenes were not arousing at all.

So here are two "officially" great films that show graphic acts of sex and nudity, do not elicit arousal, are used to forward the themes and plots of the films, and use the language of the visual image to portray their scenes.

So, I put the question back to you. Are Spielberg and Kubrick pornographers? Should these films not be considered great because they visualize sex? Would these scenes have the same impact that they did without these scenes? And am I a pervert because I found meaning in these films?

Plus, Maclom McDowell's career was not ruined by Caligula. If that were the case, Clockwork Orange (where he shows just as much nudity) would have ended it. Per his biography, his career slowed because he was initially typecast as the young villain, and as he aged, his career took a nose dive.



The OP of this thread and most everyone here is discussing UNSIMULATED sex acts in films. Films where actual sex acts occur, not simulated scenes like you have mentioned.

The Brown Bunny had a real BJ in it, Caligula had hardcore porn thrown into it's unrated cut by Penthouse mogul Bob Guccione. Some of it ranging from two lesbians urinating on an actor whose character is dead, a random lesbian sex scene, to a grotto scene where a women is becoming very forward with a snake... luckily that bit was cut away from.

I think most people here do not care or have no objection about love scenes, nudity in films, or even graphic simulated sex acts.



Originally Posted by The Gunslinger45 View Post
The OP of this thread and most everyone here is discussing UNSIMULATED sex acts in films. Films where actual sex acts occur, not simulated scenes like you have mentioned.

The Brown Bunny had a real BJ in it, Caligula had hardcore porn thrown into it's unrated cut by Penthouse mogul Bob Guccione. Some of it ranging from two lesbians urinating on an actor whose character is dead, a random lesbian sex scene, to a grotto scene where a women is becoming very forward with a snake... luckily that bit was cut away from.

I think most people here do not care or have no objection about love scenes, nudity in films, or even graphic simulated sex acts.
I agree that most people don't care about simulated sex acts. And I do know the story behind Caligula. I'm more responding to those who had problems with films like "In the Cut", and the ideas of pornography. And then to Tongo's question about "panning away" equals arousal.

But even to that point, what's the difference between un-simulated and not? If the actors are willing to perform an un-simulated act, why bemoan them and not those who simulate it? In simulated acts, the actors are nude, they rub against each other, they kiss, they perform various acts of arousal on each other. The only difference is they often wear a genital guard and no penetration exists.

My question is, what's the difference? If the actor is willing and no federal, state, or United Nation's laws are broken, why not show it if it serves the story?



Well the difference is pretty simple. One is fake one is not. Pretty self explanatory there.

Also, most actors particularly one in relationships simply do not want to preform unsimulated sex acts in films. I remember reading that caused issues on the set of Lars Von Tier's Nymphomaniac between Shia LeBeouf and and his girlfriend, because Van Trier is one of those film makers that shoots unsimulated sex in his films.

There is also a taste issue. Many people do not want to see penetration in films that they go to see at the multiplex or on DVD. Penetrative sex in a movie is relegated to porn according to society, and most people like to keep their movies and porn separate.

But the biggest difference comes from the ratings bored and the MPAA. The MPAA rates movies based on content (poorly and unevenly though it may be) and films with unsimulated sex are frowned upon by them. These movies do not get released in mainstream theaters and severely limit their box office grosses. As such unsimulated sex will be limited to arthouse and independent fare and not Hollywood films.

If people who make movie put it into their film, the actors are cool with it, they have every right to do so. Most people just do not want to watch it, and those who do will be a very niche audience.



Caligula is still on my To-Do list. I am looking for the uncut version. If i get some time i will try to watch it.



Yeah i know. Its just that I haven't really never really thought of watching Caligula... like "I am gonna watch it tonight" thing.

When i do, i will go over Amazon when i decide. Thing is, if i have to watch explicit sex scenes, why not porn movies!

Cant get any explicit than that!



Originally Posted by Godot18 View Post
In response to Tongo's "So you ask why cant there be a great movie with explicit sex..."

Well, you really didn't answer the question of whether or not a great film can have sex. You just kind of punted it. But I'll play along. It clearly seems that you have a problem with sex in films, and coming from a conservative upbringing I find that completely understandable. Whether it's a religious philosophy or a general discomfort regarding sex, everyone has a right to be turned off by sexually explicit material in a film. And you can choose to not watch it.

There are many critics who believe there is nothing wrong with arousal in films. Roger Ebert wrote a positive review for the Angelina Jolie movie Original Sin, stating sometimes it's nice to see good looking people having sex. And that healthy, loving sex is vilified in the media so much that the vilification seeps into our own lives. Now, I'm guessing you're going to call that view ludicrous, so I'm not going to defend it (though I agree with it).

I will take issue with your assertion that sex must equal arousal, and therefor must be pornography. It's my opinion that sex in films are not always used for arousal, and sometimes the visual depiction of sex is the most direct way of communicating an idea to an audience.

I've already given examples of films that depict sexual acts in a brutal, no arousing way. Antichrist, Blue Valentine, and Lust Caution. I've stated that Fargo was certainly not arousing. But you may not consider these "great movies", or haven't even seen them (I hated Antrichrist and Lust Caution myself).

So I looked at AFI's 100 best films and took out two examples where sex and nudity are used in non-arousal situations. There are more examples on this list, but I'll just stick with two.

#8 on the list is Schindler's List. During one scene, the Nazi's take off the clothing of their Jewish prisoners to evaluate their physical fitness. There are graphic depictions of nudity of both male and female genitalia. Visually, this brings home the idea that the Jewish people were treated like cattle. I don't think anyone could say they were aroused by this scene. Film is a visual medium and one of the first rules of screenwriting is to show, not tell. Too much dialogue or explaining can take away the impact of the visual nature of a film. So, in this scene, would it had been more effective if we were just told that they were naked?

Schindler's List also has a depiction of a sex act between Ammon Goette and a young woman. This scene is immediately followed by random killings of the Jewish workers (Ammon shooting them from his balcony). In this scene, the opulence and debauchery of Goette his heightened because he has rather meaningless sex directly before shooting a number of prisoners. In this scene, sex, murder, they're all the same to the man. And he appears to take no pleasure in both. He is a psychopath. The scene is portrayed without any dialogue. Again, it's certainly not arousing. I personally do not believe that this scene would have as much impact if it were just talked about.

#70 on the list is A Clockwork Orange. Now, many people thought the film was pornographic when it was first released and it was slapped with an X rating. That has been lowered to an R since then, but I understand the viewpoint. But again, I'm going off your assumption that nudity and sex is only used for arousal.

The film is about images. Kubrick was a visual director who used little to no dialogue in his films (like 2001). For us to believe the story of a young man who has to be cured of his evils, we have to first believe that what he does is evil. And this is shown by two somewhat graphic rapes at the beginning of the film. When I first saw the film, I threw up. The depictions are so cold and isolated that one really gets the feeling of the horror and randomness of these situations. Again, Kubrick deals with images, and to simply say "Alex raped a few people" would not have the visceral and emotional impact that the images provide. These scenes were not arousing at all.

So here are two "officially" great films that show graphic acts of sex and nudity, do not elicit arousal, are used to forward the themes and plots of the films, and use the language of the visual image to portray their scenes.

So, I put the question back to you. Are Spielberg and Kubrick pornographers? Should these films not be considered great because they visualize sex? Would these scenes have the same impact that they did without these scenes? And am I a pervert because I found meaning in these films?

Plus, Maclom McDowell's career was not ruined by Caligula. If that were the case, Clockwork Orange (where he shows just as much nudity) would have ended it. Per his biography, his career slowed because he was initially typecast as the young villain, and as he aged, his career took a nose dive.

You said alot of nothing. The question I asked was why have explicit sex in movies? Your response was I was uncomfortable due to some conservative upbringing. Obviously such things dont bother me as Ive posted about a few of those crap films Ive seen. Please dont be longwinded in an attempt to sound smart because this subject isnt that complicated.

The ONLY reason to have explicit sex in a film is to produce shock. Thats it! Filmmakers that have gone that direction usually arent of Kubrick or Speilbergs caliber. Kubricks best stuff sure as hell wasnt Eyes Wide Shut, but Ill give him a pass on that one cause he died before he could edit it. Speilbergs movie accounting the holocaust being discussed in a thread about explicit sex in films is just imbecilic.

McDowells career took a hard beating from Caligula, and if he could do it all over again Im sure he'd skip that gig. The film was bad! In The Cut - bad! Brown Bunny - bad! and on and on. Not one of these films discussed were good in any way. Clockwork Orange was much much harder than any of these piece o crap films, and that proves my point. Youre insinuating that if Orange can pass why cant explicit sex. Youre saying theres no moral grounds because the effect is worse in other mainstream films.

Youre right, BUT bad track records for genres equals less of those genres being produced. There were no fantasy movies being made until Lord Of The Rings broke huge financial ground. This is a business. There isnt alot of explicit sex in films because the track record of these films have been horrible. Its a page just not worth turning, and the best directors have the storytelling chops to not just equal that piece of shock but surpass it.

Originally Posted by Godot18 View Post
My question is, what's the difference? If the actor is willing and no federal, state, or United Nation's laws are broken, why not show it if it serves the story?
Why does there have to be a law against it for it not to be done? Taking the law and morals out of it, explicit sex detracts from the story, and usually the point the directors trying to make.



edwardc77's Avatar
Thought he lost everything,then he lost a whole lot more.
Regarding myself ,my upbringing wasn't strict and I'm agnostic.
So from my point of view it was never about morality or religion.
I also firmly believe that eroticism is a beautiful and complex art form.
However eroticism and pornography are two distinct and separate things.
The main reason that pornography exists is to obtain sexual arousal in the most quick and direct way possible. It's serves purely as a need for a physical desire,nothing more,nothing less.
Now...why would I want to achieve this type of stimulation in a non pornographic film?
I would rather prefer to be involved with emotional and intellectual issues (such as plot,cinematography and character development) while I'm watching a movie.
I'm not against pornography at all,it has it's place ,but not in ďmainstreamĒ film.
Every once in a while a film director comes along and decides to put some hardcore scenes in a movie,because he can think he can shock the audience.
Sometimes by doing this, he considers himself as Avant-Garde.
Well, this person isn't being Avant-Garde in my opinion,quite the contrary he is being cheap and Retro.
Pornography in film could have meant something artistic maybe 50 years ago,when hardcore was still a strict taboo.
Currently we are over flooded with adult material, it's easily obtainable and massively consumed.
Everybody is watching porn,it's everywhere Ö..it's really no big deal.
I'm pretty sure that nowadays more people have watched adult movies than auteur film.
So as a final note,you can put explicit sex or even a detailed defecation scene in a film,no one is stopping you, but it will only result in bad taste and not in artistic enlightenment.

Last edited by edwardc77; 06-10-13 at 09:15 PM.



I don't believe that the director of Shortbus was trying to shock his audience. I've read a few interviews with him and I understand why he felt his actors should have actual sex rather than simulate it.

**forgot to add that it's a fake penis in In the Cut. Just in case anyone cares.

Last edited by Godoggo; 06-11-13 at 12:35 AM.



I am the Watcher in the Night
Originally Posted by The Gunslinger45 View Post
Well for the French stuff France has different cultural views on sex that are much more open about it. Amelie which is rated R in the states was released with our G equivalent in France. And Lars Von Trier was raised in some sort of nudist convent or something.

But why the Brown Bunny needed a BJ scene even after cutting down the movie after the infamous Cannes screening? No clue...
It got a G in France? wow